Every Saint Patrick's Day, my family has to have Irish Soda Bread. It's tradition, and you can't mess with tradition. I typically bake a large batch in the morning for breakfast, where my family and I eat the bread hot from the oven with salted butter....Mmmm....it's truly to-die-for. And then that night, we dip the bread in our corned beef and cabbage or stew or whatever Irish dinner we're having. Then, we have the leftovers for breakfast the following morning reheated with butter -- that is...if it makes it that long.
And I am pleased to announce that this is officially my favorite soda bread recipe. Why? Because of the browned butter.
If you've never browned butter in a recipe before, here is your chance (and if you seriously haven't tried my Brown Butter Cookies, you really haven't lived yet). By browning the butter, you end up with a toasty, rich aroma that tastes so flavorful and savory. The rich flavor compliments the rosemary perfectly, and the whole wheat flour gives the bread an amazing texture. By brushing the top of the bread with olive oil before baking, you end up with wonderfully crisp edges, while the interior stays soft and fluffy. You also get a delicious burst of sea salt and black pepper with every bite.
This is definitely going to be a staple in my house every Saint Patrick's Day!
*adapted from Epicurious
Yield: 2 loaves
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional for topping
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Sea salt
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F.
2. Stir butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until melted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Stir flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend. Pour buttermilk and melted browned butter over flour mixture; stir with fork until flour mixture is moistened.
4. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead gently until dough comes together, about 7 turns (the goal is to work it as little as possible -- for a fluffy texture. If you work it too much it will become dense). Divide in half. Shape each half into ball; flatten each into 6-inch round. Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet, spacing 5 inches apart. Brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper and sea salt. Using small sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch-deep X in top of each dough round.
5. Bake breads until deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Cool breads on rack at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.